Police seek to stem the tide of pedestrian deaths on Oahu

Thanh Vu
Thanh Vu

By Mari-Ela David - bio | email

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A mother is gone forever. On Wednesday, the family of a pedestrian killed in Kalihi over the weekend spoke out.

One of the victim's sons goes to college on the mainland. He came home for summer vacation, not knowing it'd be the last time he'd see his mom.

"She was a good wife and a very good mom. She really knew how to take care of us, and I'll always be thankful for that," said Thanh Vu, the victim's son.

Four days after losing his mother, 19-year-old Vu holds in his sorrow, knowing the men of his family are now on their own.

57-year-old Mary Kim Tanh Vu, a mother of two sons, was exercising Saturday morning, walking in a crosswalk on Waiakamilo Road and North King Street when she was hit by a car and died.

It happened near Bryan Newell's workplace.

"I've seen older people, particularly little old ladies, who have not been seen by the drivers and I've actually have had to go out and stop traffic so that the person can cross the street," said Newell, a manager at Taxbusters Kapalama.

AARP says Hawaii is the 15th most dangerous state for pedestrians.

The Honolulu Police Department is trying to change that, with an undercover sting near the intersection where Vu was killed.

Plain-clothes officers cross the street, and motorcycle police watch close by.

If drivers fail to stop for pedestrians at least 100 feet away from the cross walk, they're fined up to $180.

"We have pre-measured distances for the speed limit of the roadway. At 25 mph, the cross walk is approximately at least 96 feet," said HPD Major Thomas Nitta.

During the crackdown in the Kapalama area on Wednesday, police issued 61 citations. 16 of them were for not stopping or yielding to pedestrians.

It's part of HPD's ongoing SPAM (Saving Pedestrians and Motorists) project.

Vu never imagined his mom would be an example of what could go wrong, but he hopes his family's tragedy will save others the pain.

"Because pedestrians are especially vulnerable," said Vu.

So far this year, HPD says nine pedestrians on Oahu have been killed, three of them in Kalihi.

HPD says safety is a two-way street. Officers say both drivers and pedestrians need to watch for each other.

More about this story on HawaiiNewsNow.com:

Pedestrian killed Saturday in Kalihi identified

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